I recently moved into a newly re-wired house where the electrician terminated the ethernet wiring outside of the house. Wires are coiled/zip tied into a box on the exterior wall. The same box that the cable company patches their coax into.

What is the best way to activate this wiring? There isn't currently power available outside, so patching them all into a switch seems like it is going to be a, well, challenge... :-)

  • Did they terminate all of the wiring outside or is there just one terminal outside of the house inside a box? – Scott Chamberlain May 7 '12 at 18:11
  • A picture might help. If I understand correctly, all the wiring is terminated outside? Sounds like the electrician didn't know what he was doing (not surprising, most don't know anything about networking). Can you see inside the house where the cables exit? Any chance you can pull them back inside? In case you do need to put a switch outside, what is your climate like (min/max temperature range)? – gregmac May 8 '12 at 4:02
  • How many cables are outside? Is it possible that the previous owner had internet service supplied by the cable company, and the cable company had a router or similar device in the exterior box? – Tester101 May 8 '12 at 11:47
  • I can't think of any good reason to terminate ethernet outside of the house. Are you sure it's cat5 and not POT wire? What kind of internet access are you going to get at the house? Typically internet comes into the house via Coax or POTS and then you hook up a router to that to transfer to Cat5 or wireless. – DA01 Jun 7 '12 at 23:16

To activate it you will need to create a network with a hub, router or switch. If you are adding broadband Internet access, you will need a broadband router which will share Internet access with the network.

Only thing is, the Ethernet cables should be terminated inside the house (unless you are planning to share your network outside the house). Home networking equipment is for indoor use only. This solves the issue with not having an electrical outlet.

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  • Problem is that it is all already outside. Is there a way to make this work without it all having to be torn out? Are the PoE switches (ie that don't need a plug)? Maybe put this all in a locked box for security? – erikcw May 7 '12 at 23:10

I don't think anyone makes hubs or switches that run directly off POE (they usually inject POE, rather than use it).

You could get a POE injector (a single-port isn't that much money) and put it inside the house (preferably on the shortest cable run out to the box) and then a POE adapter that you could run your hub or switch off of.

How big is the enclosure this stuff goes into? Because this wiring job means that you're gonna need a fairly large enclosure in order to fit all this stuff in there.

Is there any chance that what you are seeing is actually phone wires outside, and the ethernet is terminated somewhere hidden in the house? (I know, I know, no it isn't, but I have to ask).

Did you pay for this wiring job? Because frankly this isn't reasonable. I could see having run one out from somewhere inside (like you might do for land-line phone service), but to terminate all the ethernet outside is just kinda stupid.

If it was on your nickle, try to get the guy to fix it for free - what he/she did isn't right, and you shouldn't have to pay for it.

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  • The HP Procurve 1810G-8 can by powered via PoE. You can stuff the switch in the box if the box is sealed and then do a PoE injector on one of the runs in the house. – tegbains May 8 '12 at 5:30

It sounds like you have several runs of Cat5 coming out of your house into a box. Those runs originate in several rooms of the house, like the living room, bedrooms, etc. So, this is properly wired except for where the wiring closet is supposed to be. If that's not correct, ignore the following...

My recommendation is to (briefly) pretend this was done correctly. Build a proper wiring closet inside the house somewhere, forward whatever your internet provider gives you to that wiring closet, place all the routers/switches/etc INSIDE. Once that's done, you'll need to connect each of the original wires to the switches, so run cable back to the box outside, and install a small patch panel. This will minimize the amount of hardware outdoors, and in that tiny service box.

I would encourage you to re-wire completely as much as possible, so it doesn't loop back outside. But that could be done over time later, if needed. Also, anything that can be wireless reduces the need for cable. For simple, cheap solutions, this could cost less than $50 (cheap patch panel, and several runs of 6' Cat5 just to go through the wall to a wiring closet immediately opposite the exterior box). Odds are you can't get a full panel which would fit in the service box, so look for something you can cannibalize 4-6 port segments out of and mount some other way. For that matter, if it's just a few wires, use a few unsupported keystone jacks and call it a day. ^_^

Finally, I would also recommend you move the cable box about 1.5 feet sideways, and put your own box in this location on the exterior wall. Service providers sometimes get upset if you're poking around in their boxes and you'll definitely butt heads if they want to lock the box to prevent you from tampering, and you want to lock the box to prevent random people from stealing hardwired internet from you. Better to have distinct work areas.

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